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AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Aug 18 2014 21:13:45

Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?

By: Ina Steiner
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eBay is putting in place a number of programs both here and abroad to increase the ease with which foreign shoppers can purchase items from U.S. sellers on eBay.com. But sellers feel such programs don't always allow them full control over where their items may end up in the world. For sellers of antiques and vintage goods, this can be particularly problematic.

Many sellers are by now familiar with the eBay Global Shipping Program, which in some cases sellers were enrolled without realizing it when they accepted eBay's User Agreement updates. And in the Fall Seller Release announced last week, eBay announced a new program that all sellers should be aware of:

Starting in late September, buyers in select countries will be shown an international shipping option with end-to-end international tracking on eligible listings. This option will be shown on listings where the seller hasn't already specified an international shipping service. Note this update does not apply to your listings if you are currently enrolled in the Global Shipping Program or have previously opted out of the program - if so, all of your current preferences will stay the same.

In tomorrow's (Tuesday's) Newsflash, we report on new shipping membership programs in Latin America where buyers pay U.S. sellers the cost of domestic shipping within the U.S. to a mail-forwarding company in Florida or Texas, which then forwards the package to Latin American shoppers with no extra charge for international shipping. (Think of them as akin to Amazon Prime Shipping.)

But in eBay's eagerness to make it easier for international shoppers to buy from its marketplaces, it may have an adverse impact on antiques, collectibles and vintage items.

For example, there are some legal/regulatory restrictions on exports and imports. Kenneth Corbin wrote about items that arrive at the GSP warehouse in the U.S. for forwarding, but are rejected due to such restrictions, leading to a poor buyer experience. (The ones I remember perusing were vintage signs and other collectibles, which for some reason must have been restricted from being sent to the country of the buyer.)

A reader pointed out another challenge - she packs certain fragile items differently if she knows the item is being sent overseas. But even if sellers can figure out that one of their items is going to a mail-forwarding address in the U.S. for a foreign destination, they would have to eat the cost of any extra packaging to ensure the item would survive the rigors of the journey.

Should eBay be required to notify sellers when one of their items is being purchased for domestic shipment with the aim of sending it abroad? Should it give sellers the option of opting out on a case-by-case basis once an order is placed? Let us know what you think, and if you've had success (or challenges) with eBay's cross-border trading programs.

Should eBay give more control to sellers when it designs and implements cross-border shipping programs?



Comments (22) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: antiquedealer This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 18 22:52:53 2014
I am a long time seller on Ebay, 17 years, over 25K transactions.  Survived everything Ebay has thrown at me.  I reluctantly tried the Global shipping program last month as I have been very skeptical about if it would work ok or not.  Someone in Australia bought a clock under that program, and the ebay checkout did not work properly with it, delaying the shipping a couple days until ebay could get it straightened out.  Then we shipped it to the Pitney bows center as instructed.  They did not ship it for 3 weeks to the customer.  The customer was extremely distraught over the experience.  We would have had it in her hands in 3 business days if we shipped it directly.  Instead it took close to a month and was more expensive than if we shipped it directly.  I have seen many absoutely insane ideas spawned by Ebay, but this one tops the list.  We immediately opted back out of this program and would never touch it again.  It is absolutely nuts.  It is guaranteed to create many negative buyer experiences.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: southwest13 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 18 23:04:04 2014
Absolutely sellers should be able to opt out!  Those of us who do NOT wish to ship overseas shouldn't have to!  This is just outrageous!  A huge potential nightmare! This may be the reason I stop selling on eBay (and like many sellers being driven away by eBay's egregious policies, I'm TRS, 100% positive feedback, etc.)  But I'm also a small seller so I and others like me are increasingly unwanted at eBay).  I am really nervous about having items go to foreign countries.  
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 18 23:07:32 2014
I just entered my 17th year on eBay. I sell vintage and antique items. I opted into GSP when it was first rolled out. They had a staff of CSRs to help with problem situations which was greatly needed. Things went ok for a while, but I was losing sales because eBay charges way too much for the global shipping service. International customers were contacting me about it and and many of them were not nice. Then, they discontinued the CSR service and left it to Pitney Bowes. I opted out at that point and would never go back.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 18 23:26:07 2014
Two quick questions...

Is our package just placed inside another box and shipped with our packing untouched or does the reshipping center open our box and repackage it? If I'm shipping delicate collectibles I don't want anyone messing with my packaging.

Here's a question that I don't think has been addressed with the global shipping program. If it only applies to US sellers shipping to foreign countries then if foreign sellers still handle their own shipping that gives the foreign sellers a price advantage on eBay.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: odona This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Aug 18 23:50:52 2014
Used it once about 16 months ago - never again. 'nuff said? Make sure you opt out if you haven't already. As I said yesterday - it's beginning to look like the end of the ebay platform for Collectible, Antique and Vintage items altogether.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Leesantiques This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 05:37:44 2014
I've never understood why Ebay considers international shipping so hard, or why they think we need help with it.  

I've been buying and selling on Ebay since c1998.  Shipping internationally the entire time with no problems and no hassles.  Even easier now that the customs forms print out automatically.  No harder than shipping domestically.

Why the need for special ''help'', that in reality will be anything but??

Lee
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Tue Aug 19 06:25:48 2014
"I've never understood why Ebay considers international shipping so hard, or why they think we need help with it."

Revenue generation.  They want a cut. In my opinion, it has nothing to do with them wanting to "help" anyone.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: HarmonyGroveAntiques This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Tue Aug 19 06:49:10 2014
Relying on Ebay for selling our antique furniture puts us at enough risk.

Our items are too large for international shipping. We can't-won't ship international.

Opting us in would be a Huge Mistake.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: trader_chris This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 07:11:42 2014
Adding eBay to the shipping equation just means that you have another layer to deal with when something goes wrong. I prefer to work with my service providers directly, so if something does happen, I can respond quickly and there's greater accountability in the service chain.

eBay has good ideas, but poor execution. I like the sound of the Global Shipping Program, but the execution is poor. Instead of trying to manage the shipping themselves, eBay should show the individual sellers how to do it (as most do already). What would be more helpful would be if eBay and the USPS had a dedicated hotline for eBay shipments that were lost or damaged.  
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 08:20:24 2014
My problem is with all the restrictions on what can be shipped internationally (based on country restrictions). I know what Canada's laws are since I have shipped there since before there was an internet! For other countries, it could be a nightmare just trying to understand the restrictions.
I see a lot of items being rejected by customs and a big expense for the seller (as well as more negatives). If the item is rejected by customs in the destination country you may not see the item again for months.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 09:07:45 2014
Forced international shipping + eBays generous return policy = disaster for sellers. Sellers will end up "eating " the high international shipping costs, for any return. Return rate will be high , due to language difference, increased possibility of damage or pilfering due to international ship. what a mess!
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 10:56:34 2014
Again EBay is taking away decision making options for sellers, leaving them with no say about how their own business is managed.

The reason that I have certain countries blocked is because the people in those countries are notoriously crooked or I have had a problem with a buyer in that particular country in the past. By forcing me to sell to buyers in countries that I prefer not to, EBay is not giving me a choice, and that is crooked as well.  Maybe I will block EBay because they are a crooked.  :)
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 11:37:33 2014
Trader_Chris: think of how awful it is already simply calling customer service about a bad transaction with a bad buyer.  "If eBay and the USPS had a dedicated hotline for eBay shipments that were lost or damaged", their lines would be smoking and the customer service would be even worse.

Also, I read the article about EBay's new shipping program for Chile, Columbia, and Mexico (http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y14/m08/i19/s04) and I noticed that the hubs where the items would be sent to are in Florida and Texas, which happen to be the most expensive destinations for shipping costs in the Country.  Has anyone else ever noticed that shipping an item to Florida or Texas (and also California) is always more expensive than to any other State in the United States?  Hmmmm.

To Southwest13, I am a smaller seller ($20,000-$30,000 per year total sales) and I have shipped items to many countries around the world, even war-torn countries like Ukraine, and have had good buyers.  Your fear of shipping overseas is justified, but since limiting my sales overseas to only "Express" USPS shipping, my sales have decreased.  I have always been leery of overseas sales as well but it does open up your business to more sales. If you ship to safe countries like Canada, Australia, etc., you will see more sales.  I also found Israel to be a good place to get trustworthy buyers and one time a buyer in Russia gave me extra money for the purchase, saying to me "remember that Russians are not untrustworthy people".  

Unfortunately the USPS has changed their tracking so that Priority Mail is no longer tracked Internationally and we must use "Express Mail" in order to get tracking, and Express is way more expensive.  Since changing my listings to provide only "Express Mail International", my international sales are now extinct because buyers in other countries don't want to pay $50 to ship something that they paid $25 for.  If I offered First Class International shipping, which is cheap for anything under 4 pounds, I would have way more sales, but I also expose myself to international buyers saying that they "didn't receive the item."  EBay and the USPS make it difficult for us to ship internationally.

To Bidonmine, you are correct that most sellers don't have the time to get a legal degree in International customs and they shouldn't be expected to. I have many times tried to simply locate a list of Countries that the USPS does not track to using Priority Mail but was told there is no such list, which I found ridiculous considering they had to have provided EBay with that list for their programmers to plug into the EBay system for label printing.

To BobNJ; one time I sold a delicate ceramic very collectible figurine and shipped it to Oregon. 3 weeks later the buyer contacted me saying that when he received it the head was broken off. That buyer was in Singapore and he inadvertently said in one of the EBay messages to me that he "used alternative shipping methods" to get the items to him in his country. That automatically violated EBay's buyer protection policy, but even so, EBay told me to give the refund. I am sure that what many of these international buyers do is have a friend or relative from the United States unpack and repackage all of the items and put them in one big box so that they can ship the items cheaper in bulk to outside of the United States.  For all I knew the buyer had his niece or nephew put the figurine in his backpack on his way home from a trip to the United States. ;)  It took me 2 weeks of fighting and arguing with many different EBay reps, including supervisors, trying to get the negative feedback removed, even though all of the evidence was clearly right in their own messaging system!
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 12:52:25 2014
With Ebay's new return policy beginning in September, seller will also be obligated to pay any customs fees back that the buyer paid. If the seller uses the Global shipping program there could be another hefty fee to pay to the Center.  
Each seller will have to make up their own mind whether they want to take the risk of selling Internationally. I imagine most will ship to other countries until that first return before they actually make their final decision.  
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
This user has validated their user name. by: Don Wagner
       
Tue Aug 19 16:58:00 2014
Most off my listings offer International Shipping, which is usually USPS 1st Class, Insured. eBay GSP does not support insuring 1st Class packages and is an order of magnitude more expensive for the Buyer. If you sell on eBay, consider using Auctiva to print your shipping labels, and take adavantage of their Insurance Coverage for 1st Class International packages. Not a plug for them - I haven't used Auctiva in 2 years for non eBay-related reasons.

Because my shipping cost is reasonable, I do a lot of International sales. I offer collectibles that are harder to find outside the US so this works very well for me.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: shabbychick This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Aug 19 20:49:13 2014
@ Tornad0sRul
You write:
''If I offered First Class International shipping, which is cheap for anything under 4 pounds, I would have way more sales, but I also expose myself to international buyers saying that they ''didn't receive the item.''
I insure every 1st class (under 4 pounds) international shipment with
Inkfrogs Shipassure and it costs me  about .95.  For under a dollar I have total reassurance. 2 or 3 items have been lost and the money was back in my Paypal account as soon as I filed the online claim. Then I promptly refunded the buyer if I had not already done so. In one case the dress came back from Germany 6 months later! ''Unclaimed at customs''.  
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Tue Aug 19 22:30:28 2014
It's pointless to debate any of these things. Ebay will force us to do (or opt entirely and face the consequences) whatever it is that makes THEM the most money.

They don't care whether an item arrives or not. In fact, they'd rather it didn't so they can encourage the buyer to file an INR "defect."

If it does arrive -- with the tracking ebay and PayPal virtually mandate -- then then buyer can leave us negative feedback for exorbitant shipping charges unless we're willing to eat the rather substantial difference between domestic and Priority Express International. That's OK with ebay as well because the more defects they can cxreate the wider their revenue stream is.

And don't think one for nanosecond that all these anti English speaking seller policies are designed to do anything but create defects" and another a broader international class of criminal buyers.

Having lived in a Latin country, I can tell you corruption, bribery, and theft are ingrained in some aspects of the cultures.

You know what they call systemic coruption in Latin America?

"The cost of doing business."

Pinche cabron, Ho.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Wed Aug 20 03:00:21 2014
As a seller of computer parts, accessories, peripherals etc... there are some items I list which are AGAINST FEDERAL LAW to ship outside of the United States.

Any attempt by eBay to compel me into breaking Federal Laws will be promptly reported to the Federal Government!!

I have spoken with this to eBay previously regarding Global Shipping program, I have fully detailed why I refuse to ship Internationally.

I do not want to determine which countries are not blocked by Federal Law from purchasing US computer products, I want to simplify my life and refuse shipping outside the USA. Easy, simple, cut and dried.... no chance that I would cross the line and inadvertently ship to an illegal destination.

eBay is notorious for their system glitches and as such, I will NOT take a chance that an eBay glitch will leave me with legal problems which eBay will neither defend nor will they aid me financially if a violation occurs.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: shabbychick This user has validated their user name.
       
Wed Aug 20 16:37:27 2014
@ Tornad0sRul
I'm sorry. When I I responded I was only thinking of the financial risk of mailing international. I forgot to take into account the risk of a defect for ''item not received''.
Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?   Is eBay's Cross-Border Push Putting Antiques Dealers at Risk?
by: LastGirl This user has validated their user name.
       
Thu Aug 21 10:31:23 2014
Tornad0sRul, you said:

"to are in Florida and Texas, which happen to be the most expensive destinations for shipping costs in the Country.  Has anyone else ever noticed that shipping an item to Florida or Texas (and also California) is always more expensive than to any other State in the United States? "

Are you aware that shipping costs are based on where the package is being sent from and where it is being ship to. I live in California so shipping to Texas is less expensive than shipping to Florida. If you live in New York, it would cost more to ship to Hawaii than to ship to Texas. Florida, Texas and California do not have special higher rates. You're misinformed.
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